August 4, 2017

8-4-2017 Turnbull-ish Nuggets…..(Vox)

  • Right after he took office, President Trump was dogged by a story about an explosive phone call he had with one of the United States’ closest allies, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, over an Obama-era refugee deal that Trump called “dumb.” [Washington Post / Greg Miller and Philip Rucker]
  • Now the full transcripts of Trump’s phone conversation with Turnbull, as well as one with Mexican Prime Minister Enrique Peña Nieto, have leaked. [Washington Post / Greg Miller, Julie Vitkovskaya, and Reuben Fischer-Baum]
  • They reveal a strong desire on Trump’s part to keep his campaign promises to build a wall and keep immigrants out of the US. The transcripts also show Trump worrying aloud about appearing weak on those issues. [Washington Post / Greg Miller]
  • In Trump’s conversation with Turnbull, the breaking point came when the Australian prime minister brought up a deal he made with the Obama administration to resettle refugees waiting in Australian camps. [Australian Broadcasting Corporation / Zoe Daniel]
  • The Australian government forces those refugees to stay in offshore detention centers, often under horrible conditions. [Vox / Dara Lind]
  • Trump repeatedly told Trumbull the deal was a bad look for him because he had just tried to put a ban on refugees from seven Muslim-majority nations. The refugees still would have gone through the usual US vetting process — something Trumbull tried to explain, with little success. [New York / Jonathan Chait]
  • When it came to the call with Peña Nieto, Trump’s main concern appeared to be the Mexican president’s refusal to pay for a wall on the southern border. Trump actually took more of a conciliatory approach, saying he understood money for the wall would have to come from somewhere else, but he insisted Peña Nieto stop publicly defying him. [Washington Post / Greg Miller]
  • The contents of the leaks are intriguing, but the leaks themselves are even more so. An entire transcript of the conversation between two world leaders has never gotten out before, and the implications for national security are severe. [The Atlantic / David Frum]

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